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Press Releases

20 June 2017





Eurocat Netherlands shares in 7 million euro subsidy for research into congenital anomalies in Europe

 18 April 2017

Eurocat, the European network for the surveillance of congenital anomalies, has been awarded a seven million euro grant to establish a research infrastructure, Eurolinkcat, to learn about the health of children with congenital anomalies. In this program existing registrations of congenital anomalies in 13 European countries will be linked to data on mortality, hospitalization, medication and education available in other databases. Eurocat Netherlands, a research group in the Clinical Genetics department in the UMCG, will receive 350,000 euros of the subsidy.

Every year, more than 130,000 children in Europe are born with a congenital anomaly. In the Netherlands, this is 1 in 33 babies. Congenital anomalies are a major cause of childhood mortality, health problems and long-term disability. Eurocat Netherlands records congenital anomalies in the Northern Netherlands and researches factors that contribute to their incidence.

First ten years of life

Within the Eurocat network standardized data are available for children with congenital anomalies born between 1995 and 2014. Linking this data to data in other databases about mortality, hospitalization, medication and education will make it possible to map out the health and school performance of these children over the first ten years of life. The resulting research infrastructure will be available to researchers within the Eurocat network and outside of it.

Social media platform

In addition to the research infrastructure, this funding also provides for the creation of a social media platform, ConnectEpeople, to promote communication between families with a child with a congenital anomaly and healthcare providers and researchers. Through this platform, parents can participate in the design and development of relevant research on four specific disorders: severe heart anomalies, spina bifida, Down syndrome and oral clefts.

The Eurolinkcat project will last five years and is funded by the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program of the European Union. The Eurocat network includes 21 registries in 13 European countries.